Top 10 Benefits of Virtual Reality in Education

Updated: 3 October 2023

Virtual Reality

3 October 2023

Top 10 Benefits of Virtual Reality in Education

How our children learn has changed dramatically over the last century. Technological advances have helped to create interactive learning experiences that cater to all learning styles. Virtual reality is the latest piece of kit to land in the classroom. This article looks at the benefits of using virtual reality in education and how it can enhance our children’s learning experiences.

What is Virtual Reality?

Virtual reality is the creation of an artificial three-dimensional sensory environment using computer simulation. By wearing a headset, goggles, gloves, or a body suit or interacting with images projected onto walls, the user is immersed in a virtual environment. Sensors in the equipment worn by the user pick up their movements and help them feel like they are actually in the computer-generated environment.

What is Virtual Reality Learning?

Virtual reality creates a learning environment that allows a student to become completely immersed in it. The virtual environment created when using a headset or goggles allows the user to experience what they’re learning. From going on a safari with elephants and giraffes, learning about their behaviours and habitat, to learning how to perform surgery on a virtual image, the possibilities are endless as to how this technology can revolutionise learning. 

How does virtual reality improve education?

Studies have shown that educational VR helps students to remember learning material better. Most people learn and retain information more effectively when they’ve experienced it, rather than reading about it. Virtual reality lets students walk around a Roman Fort, rather than just watching a video or reading about it from a textbook, which enhances their learning experience. 

How can virtual reality help students?

Everyone learns differently. Some people prefer to read material on their own, while others prefer to listen to a lecture. But whatever your learning style, most people will learn more by experiencing something first-hand. And that’s one of the main benefits of virtual reality in education. The technology allows students to experience things they wouldn’t otherwise be able to which helps them to understand, learn and remember much better than if they’d had a traditional lecture or self-learning experience. 

Educational VR: Learning through experience

To quote the wise words of Albert Einstein, “The only source of knowledge is experience.”  Virtual reality enhances the learning experiences of students by allowing them to see and feel things, rather than just reading about them in a textbook. The technology brings learning to life so that users experience situations first-hand, giving them a deeper knowledge and understanding of a subject area.

Virtual Reality in education can inspire

An immersive learning experience can inspire students to want to learn more about a subject. Seeing for themselves how something works and what it looks like close-ups can help children to be inspired about a subject. If they’re inspired, they are more likely to remember the information and engage with future learning about it.

Encouraging creative thinking using VR

Learning about a subject from a textbook is a dry way of learning. Seeing something up close and feeling what it’s like to be near crocodiles, for example, helps to fire up a child’s imagination and to be curious and ask questions. 

Reading that a female crocodile can grow up to about 3 metres long probably doesn’t mean very much to a student. But seeing how big that is in an artificial environment is one of the benefits of virtual reality in education. It encourages creative thinking and curiosity around a subject. 

Promoting peer interaction 

Using virtual reality in education encourages children of all ages to interact with each other and learn collaboratively. Using VR technology that creates an immersive classroom, allowing all pupils to explore and interact in a three-dimensional space, is the ideal option for primary school children. They can be easily monitored while allowing them to look around and talk about what they see using touchscreens or interactive whiteboards.

Older secondary school pupils can experience the full virtual experience using headsets that can transport them into another century or country.

Using Educational VR to Engage Students 

Studying a subject that doesn’t interest a student or capture their imagination is likely to mean they disengage from learning. This then has an impact on their long-term learning and ultimately may affect how successful they are in terms of final examination grades.

Engaging these students can be made easier by using technology that allows them to experience the subject. Reading about a battle that took place centuries ago may cause some students to tune out and stop listening because they find the way the information is being given to them, dry.

Putting those same students into the middle of a battlefield using a VR headset lets them feel what it was like. They can experience the emotions those involved in the fighting were likely to have felt as they were surrounded by the sights and sounds of war. That experience will help them to remember facts that in turn will help them to be able to write about the topic in an exam. Their experience of feeling what it was like on a battlefield will help to build their memory, making it easier for them to retain the information.

Realistic travel experiences 

Physically travelling to The Great Wall of China isn’t possible during a ninety-minute geography lesson. But it is virtually possible using technology. Students can put on their headsets and be transported thousands of miles, experiencing The Great Wall from the sky and then walking along it. 

VR can be used not just to show children what different countries and cultures are really like but can help them understand what it’s like to travel on various modes of transport. It can help children who’ve never been on an airplane or boat, see for themselves how it works. They can learn about the safety aspects, how the engines work, how planes stay in the sky, and how boats can float, by experiencing a virtual tour of the vessels and seeing them up close for themselves. 

Creating an inclusive learning environment

One of the key benefits of virtual reality in education is that it is accessible to all and enables children of different abilities and backgrounds to learn. The content can easily be made to be inclusive and represent a diverse range of perspectives, for example, games can be adapted to be played with one hand for students with mobility impairments. Content can display subtitles or have non-voice-over instructions to help students who are deaf or hard of hearing. 

VR makes learning accessible to all with every student having the same opportunity to enjoy and learn from the experience. It allows students to take part who may not otherwise be able to go on a school trip due to access issues at the venue, or the trip being prohibitively expensive for some parents. 

VR offers memorable educational experiences

Perhaps one of the main advantages of schools using educational VR is that it provides students with a more memorable learning experience. Being able to experience and see things they wouldn’t otherwise be able to do, has a lasting impression and is something that students are more likely to remember. 

VR enables pupils to see details and experience how something works in a way that reading from a text or listening to a lecture will never be able to do. 

Using Educational VR to Create Immersive Learning 

Creating an immersive classroom is the most effective way of using educational VR with younger children. Images are projected onto the classroom walls creating a virtual environment that can transport children to a different country or century, without them leaving the classroom. This type of VR allows the whole class to experience the environment so pupils can interact with each other and talk about what is happening, as it happens.

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

VR technology creates an inclusive environment and can be of particular benefit to students who have special educational needs or disabilities. The sensory interactions can be adapted to suit individual needs allowing all students to benefit from it. One school in Cheltenham found it to be an excellent tool to use to prepare students for real-world interactions such as visiting a shop on their own. Images of a real shop were created for the students who were then able to experience what it would be like, learning how to find what they were looking for and pay for their items. 

The Future of Virtual Reality in Education

More and more schools and educational environments are embracing VR and realising its potential to improve the learning outcomes for all students. It enables children of all ages and abilities to learn in a fun, immersive way allowing them to immerse themselves in a subject and see the detail for themselves. This encourages better learning outcomes as it builds memories that help students to be able to remember key details because they’ve experienced them, rather than just being taught them using traditional methods such as lectures or textbooks.

Virtual reality in education has the potential to transform the way pupils learn. Creating immersive, inclusive, and engaging learning that encourages pupils to interact with their peers, it seems clear that VR is the future of education.

Virtual Reality in Education Takeaways:

The key benefits of virtual reality in education are:

  • Allows pupils to learn through experience
  • Creates an immersive and inclusive learning environment
  • Encourages pupils to interact with each other and talk about their experiences
  • Inspires pupils to learn

Do you need help with Education VR Services?

JBH Design provides a wide range of Virtual Reality services depending on your specifications. We can help you create a first-class learning environment using the latest VR equipment that helps your students get excited about subjects. If you’d like to find out how we can deliver your project to the high standards we’re known for, get in touch with our team today. 

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